An Integrative Perspective on Information Management
3„Problems are solved, not by giving new information,but by arranging what we have always known" Ludwig Wittgenstein,Philosophical Investigations
Despite the fact that information has always been a primary organizational resource and even beencalled “the unique feature of the market economy” (Drucker 1993), information management (IM) isstill a rather indistinct discipline, both in academic research and in practice. It deals with themanagement of information as a business resource and, hence, encompasses all the processes andsystems within an organization for the creation and use of information. Further, given the ubiquitousnature of information and communication technology (ICT), the business - ICT relationship hastraditionally been a point of particular interest in IM.The indefinite identity of IM is reinforced by reminiscences from the past, where the term IM wasclaimed by the library sciences
(see, e.g., Macevi
& Wilson 2002), and by the advent of adjacentand even partially overlapping disciplines such as knowledge management
. This struggling with itsown identity is also due to the handover of the discipline to ICT-people, who approached theorganizational use of information in a one-sided “technocratic-utopian” (Davenport
. 1992) way.Facetiously spoken, IM resembles a discipline in its puberty: it is reacting against its technology-col-oured interpretation, but has at the same time difficulties in finding its own identity and its right placein the organization. Notwithstanding this disorientation, the importance of IM has only increased. Reasons for this arenumerous, but can be brought back to the following:
By ICT becoming more mature, transaction costs associated with information havesubstantially decreased. Because of this, organizations are more and more information-dependent; they are at the same time struggling with information over-load and with
Information management is in this discipline nowadays quite often equivalent to “content management”.
A discussion on the differences between both disciplines can be found in Bouthillier & Shearer (2002). Anextremely critical review of what is new in knowledge management compared to IM offers Wilson (2002).